Never before has a character so decisively divided the WWE audience. The time is now to capitalize on the momentum turning Cena heel would create before it's too late and the WWE writers are left with no new ideas and half-empty arenas.
Here are five reasons the WWE needs to turn John Cena heel via the Kane "embrace the hate" storyline, culminating in his WrestleMania 28 match with the Rock:
The WWE was correct in choosing to acknowledge the "hate" Cena gets from half the audience, but it now risks alienating half of the fans if it doesn't go through with the heel turn.
The Cena lovers won't feel as alienated because they don't view wrestling the same way Cena haters do. Heel turns by beloved wrestlers have happened before (think Hulk Hogan). The fans who loved that character just find a new one to love, and a new one to buy merchandise for.
However, the fans who dislike Cena tend to be from the older generation who are keen to the backstage workings of the wrestling industry, which include the booking and the writing of storylines.
Therefore, if the WWE doesn't have the Cena character fully embrace what Kane is calling for, then the company could experience the backlash in many of the Cena haters finally getting sick of the product and tuning out.
The move to keep the status quo will be viewed as a double slap in the face, the first being that Cena is still the same old stale character, and the second being that Cena's character is the same even though the WWE chose to acknowledge the boos.
It's would be like the WWE saying, "We're not oblivious, we actually hear the fans clamoring for change, we just don't care!"
The WWE could have Cena suddenly turn ice cold and play a cyborg-like killing machine, taking out all of the faces without remorse, never speaking to justify his actions. This would provide a foil to get new faces over with the crowd.
Fans quickly tire of faces who are unstoppable, as it discredits the heels who can't win even though they use underhanded tactics. It also goes against the traditional story arc of "good guy" overcomes tough obstacles to win. Sure, the WWE tried to sell Cena as someone who overcomes obstacles, but since he never fails to leap the hurdles in front of him, it has almost become pointless to watch.
However, Super Cena would actually make sense as a heel, beating everyone in his path until someone finally knocks him off and gets a huge push into superstardom as a result.
In a way, it could be WWE's chance to create the next John Cena and start this crazy process all over again.
WWE could run this storyline with Kane right through the Road to WrestleMania, with Kane representing the discontent building inside of Cena.
All Cena has done is smile, represent the company in a positive light and been a good role model for kids, yet people hate him. Meanwhile, the Rock essentially abandoned the WWE fans for Hollywood, but he still gets cheered.
What better place for Cena to finally let the hate get to him than at WrestleMania during his match with the Rock. The Cenation leader could cheat to beat the Brahma Bull and then deliver a post-match smackdown with a chair. This would allow the Rock to stew in Hollywood, waiting for his revenge while Cena builds himself up as an unstoppable character in the months following 'Mania.
If it's true that fans buy more merchandise for faces than heels, then wouldn't it behoove the WWE to have a strong heel character to make fans more interested in the faces?
As stated earlier, turning Cena heel would open the door for fresh feuds, even with faces he's fought before, because those faces would be squaring off against a different John Cena character.
While the new faces the fans latch on to may never move merchandise as well as Cena does, having more faces to count on to sell products than just John Cena can ultimately make the WWE more money if the cards are played right.
That doesn't even take into account the fans who would still buy John Cena merchandise because they like to go against the grain, which leads us to reason No. 5...
Back in 1997, the WWE had a similar situation on its hands, where a one-dimensional face wrestler was receiving an overwhelmingly negative reaction to his clean-cut image.
That wrestler was the Rock, then known as Rocky Maivia.
Fans would chant "Rocky sucks" and "Die Rocky die," even though Maivia was supposed to be a good guy. Sound familiar?
Eventually, the Rock, an over-the-top, arrogant heel character, was born, but the character ended up having the reverse effect. Fans grew to love the Rock's catchphrases and promos, cheering him even as he would insult the audience.
This could work with Cena as well. If fans take to his new heel character, it could generate a positive reaction from the half of the audience that currently hates him.
If WWE turned him heel, Cena would no longer represent everything some fans see wrong with the present-day WWE, otherwise known as the "PG era." It would be a fresh start, a new chapter for Cena, and finally, something to cheer for.